Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December 7th: Franz Josef Southbound

After grabbing some sleep and some breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and headed over to Franz Josef Glacier Guides. We had booked a half day glacier hike of Franz Josef Glacier and it started bright and early!

After grabbing our gear in town, we hopped on a shuttle to the glacier. 20 minutes of hiking through a rain forest later, we were out in the open. Our guides divided us up into smaller groups and we started hiking toward the glacier.

We hiked past a waterfall along the way...

...and soon found ourselves at the base of the glacier. Crazy!

The path was very rocky at first, but after a little while we stopped to put on our crampons. They are ridiculously fun...they make you feel like you can just walk straight up anything. I'd love to try them out on some drywall.

Will, our guide, had to stop every once in a while to chop out some steps along the path.

The view from the path was insane. Every once in a while you could hear rocks sliding down the slopes, and right at the beginning we heard a really loud crack in the ice, but nothing fell.

Some parts of the path were really narrow and you had to squeeze through them.

We saw a few other groups out there, too.

Mark looks all dramatic in this one. :)

One part of the path was so steep that you had to hoist yourself up with ropes to get to the other side.

The clouds held out just long enough for us to enjoy the view!

Before we knew it, we were on our way back to the bus. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip!

Goodbye, glacier!

After returning our gear, we grabbed some lunch at a tiny bakery, stopped at a kiwi exhibit to see some baby kiwis, took a quick dip in some hot pools, then finally hit the road around 4pm. We had to get as far south as possible by the end of the day since we had a ferry to catch in Bluff (which was several hundred miles away) in the morning.

The scenery along the way was fantastic.

We made a quick stop to stretch our legs at Ship Creek. The beach was very pretty, but oh my gosh...the sandflies were terrible! We only stayed for a few minutes before we couldn't stand them anymore.

The road we took followed the Haast was some of the best scenery of the trip. There were rocky snow covered mountains, blue-gray rivers, and white pebbly beaches all over the place.

We passed Lake Hawea...

...stopped for dinner in Wanaka, then continued on to Queenstown for a quick overnight stop. Back on the road in the morning!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah - these pictures from the Glacier are AWESOME! Would you mind if we linked to them from our blog at and our Facebook page ?